I am interested in the book as an art form, which has for me a historical affinity with the tradition of the sample or pattern book, in use for hundreds of years. Originally produced to contain explorative examples of assorted textile patterns and needlepoint often taken from plant life, these books were also used for detailed investigative scientific drawings and recordings of nature to document the natural world.
During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, women usually produced these samples, which were frequently considered a feminine leisure activity.
However intrepid Victorian women such as Marianne North, Constance Cummings, Maria Burgess and Miss Rowe of Liverpool took the pastime of gathering, collecting, researching and recording very seriously and with appreciation for their subject matter. They rightly gained respect for the detailed intricacy of their drawings and watercolours from nature and have influenced the work that I do.
Pattern making is central to my imagery and I prefer to work on an intimate scale. Drawing within the format of a pattern helps me to understand and recognise how important both nature and its growth are as a key to creativity.
I have started to use typographic punctuation marks transferring them into different formations to form a narrative. The time it takes to produce these sequences unites the pursuit of hand stitched needlework while utilising a repeated mark within a non-repeated pattern.
‘ We often look for an underlying meaning of things while the thing itself is the meaning.’
The books are used as a container for lost delights and a journey of the imagination
Emma Hill, EMH Arts The Eagle Gallery, London.